Vocabulary in Floorwork: Quantity vs Quality

Social media is a trap. 

You heard it, you know it. 

It’s a beautiful source of inspiration, but hell is paved with good intentions. Without correct discipline in the way you use it, it will make you want MORE. The fish roll, the macaco, the au de frente, that fancy QDR variation… 

Every day there is a new movement being created or resuscitated out there, and it makes you feel like you are falling behind. It magnifies how much you don’t know, and, out of FOMO, makes you focus your energy on some of the least productive endeavours when it comes to developing a smooth and efficient practice. 

When confronted with the anxiety of scattering your attention and reprioritizing, once more, your training, remember the following. 

Floorwork is, in many aspects, a language. 

It is the language of moving efficiently across the floor. 

Now, let’s sit a minute on what that means. 

Do you know all the words that exist in your mother tongue?

Certainly not. 

Do you need them to be absolutely fluent in your mother tongue?

Absolutely not.

According to lexicographer and dictionary expert Susie Dent, “the average active vocabulary of an adult English speaker is around 20,000 words” The Oxford dictionary, on the other hand, references more than 171 000 words in current use… 

From there, you could propose the argument that becoming bilingual in Floorwork would need you to be “a bit better than average” – so let’s double that average active vocabulary to 40 000 words, which is on the higher end of the distribution spectrum (on a side note, floorwork would be seen as a foreign language to you, for which we estimate that 10 000 words are enough to reach fluency).

This means that very proficient, extremely well spoken native speakers have under their belt barely more than 23% of the total number of words that are actively used (which itself doesn’t include obsolete words). 

What does that mean…

Learning more words isn’t the cornerstone of mastering a language.

Of course, vocabulary is one of the variables that changes as one goes from discovering a language to becoming fluent and bilingual. 

But it is not what drives mastery. 

Back to your new obsession…

Learning that new movement sure seems alluring. 

And don’t get me wrong:

1) There are words, movements, that you should learn because they are so efficient, so usable in so many contexts, easy to remember and yet extremely efficient at enriching the texture of your sentences. These are what I call double count words. 

2) Grammar and Vocabulary are intrinsically linked. One would undoubtedly be unable to communicate relying only on grammatical rules. Learning one and the other in silos is an obsolete teaching method that belong to the schoolbooks that scared our childhood.

3) There is such a thing as a base working vocabulary list for any language, upon which you can start your mastery journey. It is ideally comprised of high frequency words, and will expose you to the most common patterns of that language. Learning that base vocabulary first will save you A LOT of time down the road.

This is the goal of the Floorwork Foundation video course. Putting all the building elements in the right order, and introducing you to the adequate patterns in due time.

The point is: Vocabulary should not be your sole priority, and it should not be your number one priority, until you are perfectly fluent in floorwork.

When expressing the ideas you have in mind on the floor is not a problem anymore, you can find ways to more elegantly add nuances. Before that, and you are likely putting the horse before the cart.

PS: If you are absolutely new to Floorwork, check out the Elephant Crash Course I have prepared for you, for free.

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